Meet the Men of Soho

To celebrate International Men's Day we have delved into the careers of some of the most influential men in Soho to find out what lead them to their success. 

 

With so many unique brands in Soho, we wanted to find out more about the brains behind them. In aid of International Men's Day and alongside Soho Speaks Out, we want to champion Soho's inspirational men and find out what lead them on their path to our corner of the capital. 
  


Will Bowlby, Founder and Head Chef of Kricket 


Will has brought a niche element to the food industry and he has been able to do this through the experience he has gained over the years. Will was inspired to set up his own Indian restaurant and in 2015 the opportunity arose. His motivation to start ‘Kricket’ was from his time spent in Mumbai, he consulted on the menus at Khyber and travelled india on a food tour for six months before returning to the UK in 2014. 


Jimmy Horrocks, Area Manager at Footpatrol

Jimmy is the Area Manager for Footpatrol with 13 years in the retail footwear industry starting from the shop floor as a sales assistant in size? He started in Cardiff working his way through the ranks to become store manager in 3 years. He then moved to London for a new challenge with Footpatrol in 2010. They have grown from a team of 3 with one store, to a store with 16 employees, whilst also expanding to paris!
 

Brian Beaton, Employment Support Officer at The House of St Barnabas

Brian’s mission at The House of St Barnabas is to create the strongest community of people who are invested in creating a fair and equal society where lasting work is a reality for people affected by homelessness. He has been helping the homeless for many years, his first experience of being at a homeless shelter was at the age of 8. From here, Brian has helped many people and decided that this path was the one he should take, as he enjoyed and took pride in being able to help people get back on their feet. 

Mark Powell, Soho Tailor and Founder of Mark Powell


 
Renowned for his classically inspired tailoring, Mark Powell’s clothes have attained iconic status via a successful combination of bold, experimental cuts and historically-informed styling. Established in 1985, Powell is now one of London’s most influential bespoke tailors and a one-off in the world of international haute couture. He’s a man who has maintained an independent, unique vision for more than three decades, a sartorial vision that remains focused on the marriage of street style and flare to the traditions of Savile Row.


Ben Chapman, Founder of Kiln

Ben, previously an art gallerist, DJ and designer, only started cooking in 2016, and in that time has founded one of Soho's most loved restaurants. With its unusual and brilliant iteration of highly specific rural northern Thai cooking, Kiln has secured universal approval and was the winner of the 2018 National Restaurant Awards! 


Oliver Spencer, Founder and Designer of Oliver Spencer

Oliver Spencer has always had a passion for creativity and a great eye for detail. Frustrated by the limitations of art school and impatient to strike out alone, Oliver Spencer abandoned studenthood in favour of a stall at Portobello Market. And working that market stall ingrained his enduring love of garment and cloth and shopkeeping. Oliver Spencer the brand was founded in 2002. He wanted to create something new: a range of clothing with all the quality and craft of premium tailoring, but with a relaxed modern style. The philosophy? Quality needn't mean formality; casual needn't mean careless.

David Keyte, Co-founder and Designer at Universal Works

When David was nine years old, his mother presented him with a pair of green corduroy shorts to wear to school. He decided from that moment that no one was going to buy his clothes ever again. Despite his interest in clothes from a young age, he knew this was not a feasible career path so he never tried to pursue this. David Keyte has had multiple professions. He was a sign-writer, as he was interested in graphics, then he moved on to working in coal mines - this made him realise he needed to be doing something that he was passionate about, he eventually moved on to working at Paul smith, and finally after some time, decided to start up Universal Works. 


Phil Barton, Founder of Sister Ray 

Phil Barton is the owner and founder of successful Soho record store, Sister Ray. When he was a teenager, Phil would actively go to gigs and record shops. He sums up his youth and career path quite simply: “I went to college and I ended up working in a record shop, then working for a record company, then working for my own record company. And now I’m working in my own record shop. And that’s what I’ve done.”